The Masai Mara, The Laikipia, Mt Kenya, Lewa, The Coast… Kenya has so much on offer, it’s hard to know where to go first.
The Maasai Mara is the northern extension of the Serengeti Plains. It is almost entirely made up of open grassland and is simply teeming with game including large pride of lion, which visitors can regularly see hunting. Other big cats that are frequently seen in the Mara include cheetah and leopard. There are around 40 black rhino that live in the Maasai Mara, although they are rarely spotted.
The national park supports particularly big herds of elephant, buffalo, zebra, Thomson’s gazelle and Grant’s gazelle – and an interesting array of other game including impala, topi, wildebeest, Coke’s hartebeest, Maasai giraffe, warthog, jackal, bat-eared fox and spotted hyena.
However, the most amazing spectacle in the Mara is the wildebeest migration, which takes place from July to August each year, when thousands upon thousands of these animals make their annual journey north from the Serengeti in order to reap the benefits of the lush, green grasses that spring up across the Mara following the April / May rains. They then turn back to Tanzania in October.
Lewa Downs Wildlife Conservancy is a privately owned wildlife sanctuary in Northern Kenya and is home to a great variety of indigenous species. At the very core of their work is the protection and preservation of a number of rare and endangered species that naturally dwell on Lewa.
‘The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy works as a catalyst for the conservation of wildlife and its habitat. It does this through the protection and management of species, the initiation and support of community conservation and development programs and the education of neighboring areas in the value of wildlife.’
Within the park, there are three fabulous lodges and all the profits that they generate are reinvested into environmental and community projects. In addition to these, there are further wonderful properties on neighbouring community land managed by locals and constructed from local materials – anyone staying here has an even greater opportunity to appreciate the culture of the people who have lived on this land for generations.
The game viewing on Lewa Downs is excellent and the birdlife is very interesting. Visitors can do night and day game drives and there are a number of other activities available such as guided bush walks, lion tracking, horse and camel trekking, game viewing from hides and visits to the village and to an archaeological site.
A lesser known but simply beautiful area (and one of our favorites) is that of the Chyulu Hills, a series of ancient volcanic cinder cones, many of which are largely composed of pumice and volcanic ash. Rainfall is low here but owing to cloud moisture, this intriguing area is covered by mountain grasses and peppered with gorgeous wild flowers and the ethereal mists that gather in the early mornings feed a variety of wild orchids.
The region has stunning views of Mount Kilimanjaro and supports great populations of eland, giraffe, zebra and wildebeest and smaller numbers of elephant, lion and buffalo. The park’s lack of basic infrastructure has left it little visited and consequently wonderfully untouched by tourism.
On the slopes of the Chyulu Hills lies the fabulous Ol Donyo Wuas, a beautiful and exclusive lodge in a private concession of more than a quarter of a million acres, where guests can explore this area in complete privacy in open-topped Land Rovers, on foot or on horseback. For more information on Ol Donyo Wuas, please refer the Kenyan ‘Places to Stay’ section.
There’s just so much you could do in Kenya, and we’re full of ideas to suit you. In the meantime, here are a few of our favourites.
The Great Migration is one of the most spectacular events of the animal kingdom and we can recommend certain regions at various times of year so that you can come into close proximity of this extraordinary movement of game.
It is one of nature’s most astonishing phenomena as two million animals (mostly wildebeest but also zebra, gazelle and eland) head across the plains of Kenya. They risk life and limb to complete this yearly journey in search of fresh grazing and water since hundreds of salivating predators follow in their wake, ready to pick off the tired and the feeble.
The migration normally starts towards the end of April, as the great herds begin to amass on the southern Serengeti plains in preparation for their journey. After this time, the herds begin to disperse into the Maasai Mara in Kenya until late October, where they move south again for the start of the new cycle.
As Kenya is conveniently located next to Zanzibar, it also shares the joy of being able to not only send people to the Kenya coastline, which is beautiful, but to Zanzibar also.
Safari beach combo’s allow you to enjoy stark contrast in perfect harmony, after all, once the safari dust has settled, it only seems natural that you should finish your safari on white sand beaches with crystal clear waters!
The combination creates a sense of wow to your trip. It’s hard to believe you’ll be hot air ballooning over the Serengeti one second, to snorkeling and diving the next. The change of scenery is mind blowing – this is a twin center holiday that’s almost impossible to beat.
Kenya’s Laikipia is arguably the place to go if you’re after fun. Here you can do more than just game driving, which does have a life san after you’ve done it a few times. Here you can literally do everything nature has at its disposal. You can do guided bush walks, lion tracking, horse and camel trekking, game viewing from hides, sleep outside under the stars, visit local villages etc.
Timing is everything, and when you choose to visit will play a huge part in the experience you have. Here’s some advice to help.
A member of the Bantu group of African languages, Swahili is spoken by 30 million people, chiefly in Kenya, Tanzania, Congo, Burundi and Uganda. It is the official language of Kenya.
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